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These Are ELLE’s 2021 Women in Hollywood

There were moments over the past 20 months when it felt like we might never be able to safely step foot inside a movie theater again. Near the start of the pandemic, Hollywood stars, like all nonessential workers, were sidelined, left to cheer on health care workers and ponder their own purpose in a changed world. Some jumped into action, protesting police brutality or lending their platforms to activists on the front lines. And then, slowly, COVID protocols in place, filming began again.

ELLE’s 2021 Women in Hollywood honorees are the definition of resilient: They channel trauma into art (Jennifer Hudson) and speak truth to power (Jodie Comer). They’re barrier breakers, from Rita Moreno, the first Latina to win an Oscar (for Best Supporting Actress), to Halle Berry, the first (and still only) Black woman to win the Best Actress Oscar, to Lauren Ridloff, who, like her Eternals character Makkari, is deaf, a first for Marvel films. Ridloff’s costars are tireless advocates for refugees (Angelina Jolie) and domestic violence survivors (Salma Hayek), and have spoken out against AAPI violence (Gemma Chan).

Likewise, while Gal Gadot’s art thief character in Red Notice is no superhero, offscreen she has bravely stood up to on-set mistreatment, protecting her colleagues in the process: “My sense of justice is very strong,” she says. Meanwhile, Berry, who directs and stars in this month’s mixed martial arts film Bruised, is used to “fighting for the right to be,” she says. “I’m grateful that I’m still here, and I’m a part of this awakening. Because I really feel inspired by what’s happening now.”

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